The inhabitants of Sabratha in Libya, located 60 km west of Tripoli, are facing critical challenges. The conflict that broke out in the country in 2014, and the violence that spreaded shortly but intensively in the city in September 2017, left the 113,000 people who live in Sabratha, mostly farmers and fishermen, with a legitimate concern. They feel threatened by a serious and specific danger: the war.
“The conflict has a huge impact, not only in buildings, but also in people minds. We are worried about our jobs, our homes and the well-being of our families,” said Mr. Taher Tohami, Manager of Sabratha central Clinic.
The health center is one of the medical facilities affected by the conflict that took over the city. It is located downtown, where several buildings and houses were damaged or completely ruined because of the war.
“Nine months ago, the fighting, and the lack of security, forced all staff to leave the clinic,” explained Mr. Tohami. “Many people had to leave their houses, and the people who remain have to travel anyway to find basic services somewhere else.”
Sabratha Central Clinic was established in 1972 to provide 24 hours health care to all the inhabitants of Sabratha and surrounding cities. The center counted with nine specialize departments, two emergency rooms, a pharmacy and an operating room. Currently, only three departments are operatives and the clinic is open 10 hours per day. Due to the lack of facilities and equipment, patients need to travel elsewhere and pay health services in other expensive private clinics, while the country is facing a liquidity crisis.
“People spend four to five months with no way to get their salaries. How they could afford their medical bills?,” asked Mr. Tohami, wiping his face in despair.
With support from the European Union, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is currently renovating the clinic. The rehabilitation of this public infrastructure is part of the Strengthening Local Capacity for Resilience and Recovery in Libya project, which aims at helping local authorities to restore essential services delivery, livelihoods opportunities, and community security.
“Sabratha Central clinic is big and it is meant to provide services for all the citizens of this area, but it needs renovation,” said Abdulmotaleb Salim Zahmoul, a Sabratha resident, while entertaining his daughter in the clinic waiting room.
“We are very happy now that we know that the clinic will be fixed and we are grateful for the European Union support. We hope it returns to the state it was, or even better.” He continued: “Health care services are one of the main priorities for people in Sabratha. We want to see a real transformation because it is very challenging for us to go to a private clinic or travel to other cities in search of medical support.”
UNDP is implementing the EU-funded initiative in Tripoli, Sabratha, Sabha, Murzuq, Benghazi and Al Kufra. In Sabratha the project is already rehabilitating the tennis and basket ball court and the High Career Profession Institute, which will provide more opportunities for young people.
This project is implemented in the framework of the €90 million programme "Managing mixed migration flows in Libya through expanding protection space and supporting local socioeconomic development" financed by the North of Africa Window of the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. The main objective of this programme is to comprehensively reinforce protection and resilience of migrants, refugees and host communities in Libya while supporting an improved migration management along the migration routes in the country.
- Publication date
- 10 December 2019
- Region and Country
- Improved migration management